Friday, June 1, 2012

That's All Folks- Boundaries

 Love is like a butterfly:  It goes where it pleases and it pleases wherever it goes.  ~Author Unknown

Welcome back my friends!  Happy Friday to you!  Thank you so much for joining me today for the final message in the boundaries study.  I would also like to let you know about a change I'm going to be making this upcoming Monday.  I have been posting daily messages, which I call "Pearl of the Day" on my facebook page, and I was thinking what a great idea it would be to incorporate that into my blog.  So, instead of posting a new message on Mondays and Fridays, I will be posting my "Pearl of the Day" right here on Pocketful of Pearls.  It's going to be a little different in that the message won't be as long and it will be posted on a daily basis as sort of a mini-devotional.  I know there are lots of you who don't have extended amounts of time to sit and read a long message, so I hope this new approach will work better for you and for me.  Please let me know what you think and if you have any ideas or suggestions.  We shall see how it goes!  With that being said, it's time to get started with the message!

Please feel free to look back over the previous messages in this series if you are new here, or if you need to catch up.  I'm picking up where I left off on Tuesday with more examples of Common Boundary Myths and What's Within Your Boundaries.

Common Boundary Myths-

Myth #7-  "Boundaries Cause Feelings of Guilt"-  One of the major obstacles in setting boundaries with others is our feelings of obligation.  Many people solve this problem by avoiding boundary setting with those they feel obligated to.  In this way they can avoid the guilty feelings that occur when they say no to someone who has been kind to them.  The idea is that because we have received something, we owe something.  The love we receive, or money, or time---or anything which causes us to feel obligated---should be accepted as a gift.  A gift means there are no strings attached. All that's really needed is gratitude.  So, what do we owe those who are kind to us, who have genuinely cared for us?  We owe them thanks.  And from a grateful heart, we should help out and help others.  We have to distinguish between those who "give to get" and those who truly give selflessly.

Myth #8- "Boundaries Are Permanent, and I'm Afraid of Burning My Bridges"-  It's important to understand that your no is subject to you.  You own your boundaries.  They don't own you.  If you set limits with someone, and they respond maturely and lovingly, you can renegotiate the boundary.  In addition, you can change the boundary if you are in a safe place.

What's Within My Boundaries?

6.)  Limits-  Two aspects of limits stand out when it comes to creating better boundaries.  The first is setting limits on others.  In actuality, we can't do that, what we can do is set limits on our own exposure to people who are behaving poorly; we can't change them or make them behave right.  We are not being unloving.  Separating ourselves protects love, because we are taking a stand against things that destroy love.  The second aspect of limits is setting our own internal limits.  We need to have space inside ourselves where we can have a feeling, an impulse, or a desire, without acting it out.  We need self-control without repression.  We need to be able to say no to ourselves.  This includes both our destructive desires and some good ones that are not wise to pursue at a given time. Internal structure is a very important component of boundaries and identity, as well as ownership, responsibility, and self-control.

7.)  Talents- Our talents are within our boundaries and are our responsibility.  Yet taking ownership of them is often frightening and always risky.  We are much happier when we are exercising our gifts and being productive.  It takes work, practice, learning, prayer, resources, and grace to overcome the fear of failure.

8.)  Thoughts- We must own our own thoughts.  Many people have not taken ownership of their own thinking processes.  They are mechanically thinking the thoughts of others without ever examining them.  They believe others' opinions and reasonings, never questioning or thinking about what they're thinking about.  Certainly we should listen to the thoughts of others and weigh them, but we should never give our minds over to anyone.  We are to weigh things for ourselves in the context of relationship, "sharpening" each other as iron, but remaining separate thinkers.  We must grow in knowledge and expand our minds.  We must clarify distorted thinking.  We must make sure we are communicating our thoughts to others.  Many people think that others should be able to read their minds and know what they want.  We have to own our thoughts, and if we want others to know them, we must tell them.

9.)  Desires-  We must define who the real "me" is and what we truly desire.  Many desires masquerade as the real thing.  We often do not actively seek our desires from God, and those desires are mixed up with things that we do not really need.  God is truly interested in our desires; He made them.  God loves to give good gifts to His children.  Does that mean He gives us everything we ask for?  No.  He is a wise parent, who knows the motives of our hearts when we ask for something we desire, and if will benefit us or not.

10.)  Love- Our ability to give and respond to love is our greatest gift.  The heart that God has fashioned in His image is the center of our being.  Its abilities to open up to love and to allow love to flow outward are critical to life.  Many people have difficulty giving and receiving love because of hurt and fear.  Many people do not take ownership for how they resist love.  They have a lot of love around them, but do not realize that their loneliness is a result of their own lack of responsiveness.  We maneuver subtly to avoid responsibility in love; we need to claim our hearts as our property and work on our own weaknesses in that area.  It will open up life to us.

This concludes my study of boundaries, and is also where I will close for today my friends.  I would encourage you again to get the Boundaries book by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud.  I have only touched on the surface of the information and wisdom in this book.  There is so much more information there to help you in this area.  It can make a tremendous difference in your life if this is something you struggle with.  It has changed my life significantly. 

Be on the look-out for the changes I spoke about earlier that are coming up on Monday.  I hope those changes will be a blessing to you my friends.  Here's something for you to think about:  Change doesn't happen by itself.  If we keep doing what we've always done, then we will keep getting what we've always gotten.  We must get to the point where we take action in the areas we want to see change in.  It's not easy taking the steps to change, but if we truly desire for things to be different, then our decision to do something, other than talk about it, is crucial.  What changes would you like to make in your life?  Maybe it's in the way you think, how you eat, setting boundaries, a relationship with someone in your life, or it could even be in your attitude.  Regardless of what area it is, it will not change by doing nothing.  Change begins with you.  It takes commitment, time and patience.  Decide today that you will start taking the steps to make the changes you want to see.  It's not easy, but it's so worth it.  Until next time my friends, be blessed!

Scripture Verses to Encourage You:

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. ~Mark 12:30 (NLV)

The world is unprincipled.  It's dog-eat-dog out there!  The world doesn't fight fair.  But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will.  The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture.  We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.  Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.  ~2 Cor. 10:3-6 (MSG)

For what person perceives (knows and understands) what passes through a man’s thoughts except the man’s own spirit within him?  Just so no one discerns (comes to know and comprehend) the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. ~1 Cor. 2:11 (AMP)

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